Vanity Fair suggests Russians are ‘hopeless primitives’ from a medieval country
Vanity Fair apparently believes Russians are ‘hopeless primitives’ who rejected the attempts of smart people to ‘civilize’ them. Specifically folk like Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, and Jeffrey Sachs.
Ignorance is bliss. Don’t take my word for it. Just observe really stupid people. Or read Vanity Fair’s Russia coverage. Which is much the same thing. So far this year the magazine has plumbed new depths of foolish, doltish and half-baked analysis.
It started in January when it offered us “The Secret Source of Putin’s Evil,” which was supposedly Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov. The drivel continued with fixations on the “Trump-Russia nightmare” and the “Trump-Russia mess“. The focus then switched to “Why Russia Loves Trump” before the same writer came back a few weeks later with “Why Even Russia Is Turning on Trump” when the wind obviously hit his posterior from a different direction.
Now, he’s back, and he’s going all feudal on Russian rumps. Because Peter Savodnik wants you to know how democracy could have flowered from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok if only locals had heeded Clinton, Yeltsin, and Sachs. Who we are told had “noble intentions.” However, the problem was “it was probably too much to ask a basically medieval country to become modern in a decade.” So “instead, Russia reverted to its primal self, to Vladimir Putin.”
Just read those last two sentences again for a second. And then try to comprehend how anyone could believe how 1991’s Russia was an antediluvian civilization. We are talking about the successor state of the Soviet Union, which not only won the space race but gave us things like Tetris and Radial Keratotomy. A useful cure for myopia from which a lot of American journalists would benefit.
Russia has also provided Europe with much of its high culture. Including the novels of Leo Tolstoy and Mikhail Bulgakov, the music of Pyotr Tchaikovsky and Igor Stravinsky and the theater of Anton Chekhov and Alexander Ostrovsky. Furthermore, 94 percent of today’s adults hold at least an upper secondary qualification, against a G20 average of 60 percent. Russia also boasts the largest percentage of citizens in the OECD who have attained a third level education (53 percent).
Thus, only a complete dingbat would associate the country with the Middle Ages. A time best remembered for war, famine, plague and pestilence. But, sadly, Savodnik’s nocturnal friends are clanging, crashing and pounding with wild abandon.
He insists Rex Tillerson shouldn’t have gone to Moscow last week to speak to Putin and Sergey Lavrov because Russia “is a country that exists outside the Western paradigm, and, so long as that’s the case, we ought to guard against it.” Because it “threaten(s) elections, energy flows, or the prosecution of wars against terrorists“. Incidentally, Vanity Fair’s publisher, Conde Nast, last month launched Vogue Arabia, in a region much farther removed from the West than Russia.
But his point needs to be discussed. Because Savodnik, and his fellow travelers, rarely properly ask why Russia didn’t fully integrate into the West in the 1990’s. After all, Putin himself was still clinging to the idea until at least the mid-2000’s, and Russians were genuinely fascinated by Western ideals for a considerable length of time. Yet, American analysts, almost exclusively, pin the blame entirely on Moscow. Which is grossly unfair. And for proof of this, just listen to Jeffrey Sachs himself.
The horse’s mouth
After I tweeted about the Vanity Fair piece and shared another observation from Mark Ames, Sachs replied to give his version of events. He insisted how “Bush, Clinton failed badly in (the) US opportunity and responsibility to support Russia’s economic reforms. (The) Expansion of NATO made things worse.” Something which certainly runs contrary to accepted mainstream wisdom.
It's 2017 and Vanity Fair says Russians are hopeless primitives "despite noble intentions of Boris Yeltsin, Bill Clinton & Jeffrey Sachs" pic.twitter.com/IwZODBDcjf
— Mark Ames (@MarkAmesExiled) April 16, 2017